TEACHERS should not allow themselves to be used by some anti-Government elements with a sinister agenda to cause chaos in the education sector for political ends.
The Government this week announced a 20 percent salary increase for all civil servants plus an additional US$100 cash allowance, as well as school fees allowance among other non-monetary benefits.
This shows commitment by the Government to improve the life of not only educators but the entire civil service.
There are reports that despite the Government’s show of goodwill, some teachers’ unions and school development committees are blocking teachers from going to work.
The issue then ceases being a welfare matter but a political one as some of these unions have declared allegiance to certain opposition parties.
It is important therefore for teachers to remember that they are not politicians but Government employees with their contractual obligations.
It is against this background that Government on Thursday moved to suspend for three months without pay all teachers who did not report for duty when schools opened.
In a statement yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said:
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the nation and its valued stakeholders that all officials within the ministry who absented themselves from duty since the official opening of schools on 7
February 2022 have been suspended without pay forthwith, for a period of three months.
“During this period of suspension, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigation or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct,” said Dr Ndlovu.
A variety of penalties are at the Government’s disposal, including dismissal and warnings, once investigations have been concluded.
The Government has about 140 000 teachers under its employ and indications are that those who were not reporting for duty are few and can be replaced with available personnel if authorities decide to do so.
Dr Ndlovu said appropriate action would be taken against members who abrogate their duties and responsibilities.
She said the ministry remains committed to the provision of quality, affordable, accessible, relevant, equitable, inclusive and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans.
The door has not been shut on further negotiations and there is no reason to attempt to hold both Government and learners at ransom especially for ends outside the teachers’ welfare.
Leaders of some of the unions are living large off the teachers’ affiliation fees and go on to mislead the educators knowing that no consequence will befall them.
Article Source: The Chronicle